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November 26, 2013

Coconut Chiffon Bundt Cake with Coconut Frosting

Coconut Chiffon Bundt Cake with Coconut Frosting
Coconut Chiffon Bundt Cake with Coconut Frosting 



I hate the s word. Not the one that some of you are thinking of (I have thought that word in relation to this word), no this is another 4 letter word. Snow. I hate it. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest where a lot of people ski, and when I say a lot of people my school had ski fridays. They would take a big bus up to Snoqualmie and go skiing, every friday for 12 weeks. The kids that stayed behind got to watch movies, bake cookies, learn computer etc. Every 2 hours we would switch to a new activity. It was a no brainer for me, I chose to not go skiing.

I love to cross country ski and am an adequate down hill skier and snowboarder. I had to be since all my friends wanted to go on ski trips during the winter. While snow is pretty, I hate, hate to be cold. When you ski you are in this in between weird world where your sweating, but also it's freezing. If you take off your coat you get cold, since your working out if the jacket stays on you sweat. While some women can stay attractive while skiing, I don't. I don't just sweat, I sweat buckets. After a 2 hour cross country work out I look like a bucket of water has been dumped on my head.

So while I grew up around ski and snow lovers I would be happy if it just stayed away. My poor in-laws live in the mountains and it snows all winter. Not just inches, but feet. My mother-in-law is already worried about Thanksgiving and the weather. It always seems to snow here around the holidays, we had our first snow the week of Halloween (which is way too early for my tastes). So my mother-in-law and I are both hopping the snow that is supposed to start tomorrow stays away. The s word can stay where it belongs, out of my vocabulary.

During the holiday months I bake frequently. I seem to turn to sugary foods when the weather gets colder. The summer months I turn towards fruit and light foods, but during the winter I love cakes and cookies. Luckily I also love my treadmill (not really, but I still do it). Last week I tried a new recipe for Gluten Free Coconut Bundt Cake with Coconut Frosting from the December 2013 issue of Food and Wine magazine.
Coconut Chiffon Bundt Cake with Coconut Frosting
Coconut Chiffon Bundt Cake with Coconut Frosting 

This recipe has 10 ingredients. It takes 2 hours 30 minutes of total time, 30 minutes of which is active and makes 12 servings. I did make a few significant changes to the original recipe. First, I used white rice flour to replace the cake flour. Since I eat gluten free I try to change regular recipes to be gluten free. Many specifically gluten free recipes are too dry or just plain bad. Make sure to adequately grease and dust the pan. The cake tends to stick a little to the pan. I found that my total baking time was slightly longer than suggested, by approximately 10-15 minutes.
Huntington Museum of Art
Huntington Museum of Art

My kids and I really liked this recipe. It was light and worked well being made gluten free. The coconut milk made for a delicious, moist texture and would be a nice replacement for people that can't have milk. This cake would be great for a party, it is beautiful on the plate and would serve 16 people if the slices were made thin.

For the recipe go to Coconut Chiffon Bundt Cake with Coconut Frosting.

November 23, 2013

Pecan Sticky Buns

Pecan Sticky Buns
Pecan Sticky Buns




Growing up we had a huge holly bush in our front yard. When I say huge it was well over 50 years old and had never been trimmed. Every year at Christmas our neighbors would come over and ask if they could have holly for the holidays. My mother loved sharing the holly and it was a nice way to catch up with neighbors. For me the holly was one of the sure signs that Christmas was coming. We would cut a huge basket full of branches and decorate the table in our living room. My mother would add tall candles and candle holders and on Christmas Eve it was beautiful.

Christmas Eve was always the bigger holiday in our house. While I loved opening presents Christmas morning, Christmas Eve was special. My mother would host a party every year and our entire family would come over. We had a tiny 2 bedroom cottage house and it would be busting at the seams. My mother would cook for days and the house smelled wonderful and looked beautiful with candles and lights everywhere. There would be small plates of pickles, olives, smoked oysters and crackers. 7 layer bars, brownies, cookies, veggies, and cheese trays would be all over the house. It was an evening to enjoy the season and most of all family. There are many things that I miss about my mother, but I think the biggest part for both my father and I are those Christmas Eve parties. Neither of us have felt the same about Christmas Eve since she passed. Christmas is still wonderful, but Christmas Eve will always be my mothers.

I often times try multiple recipes for the same dish. There are so many small changes that can be made to a dish that drastically change the outcome. A few weeks back I tried a new recipe for Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns. They were great, but my husband wanted me to try a recipe that was more brown sugar based. This week I tried a new recipe for Pecan Sticky Buns from the Number 160 issue of Saveur magazine.
Lake Vesuvius
Lake Vesuvius

This recipe has 13 ingredients. It takes 2 hours 30 minutes (plus fridge time) and makes 12 servings. I did make a few changes to the original recipe. First I mixed the dough by hand. While I have a great kitchen aid mixer, oftentimes I prefer to make my dough by hand. The original recipe was heavy on butter. While I love butter as much as the next person since my kids were eating the majority of this recipe I reduced some of the butter. I cut the butter down by more than half to a total of 1 1/2 sticks. 3 1/2 sticks for 12 buns was just a little too butter heavy for my tastes. The reduction in butter worked out well and the dough still rose beautifully. Plus my kids and husband didn't notice the fat reduction so a win-win all around.
Lake Vesuvius Spillway
Lake Vesuvius Spillway

My husband preferred this recipe to the last one I tried. The combination of 3 types of sugar made for a great molasses taste on top and sweet swirled bun in the center. Cutting down on the butter was a nice way to make the recipe more family friendly. If you are taking this to a party I would keep the recipe with the full amount of butter, but for home baking the modification worked out well.

For the recipe go to Pecan Sticky Buns.

November 21, 2013

Pork Tenderloin with Baked Apples and Barley

Pork Tenderloin with Baked Apples and Barley
Pork Tenderloin with Baked Apples and Barley



I hate putting up holiday decorations. After this post I will probably get my Pinterest account revoked for lack of Christmas decoration enthusiasm, but I just don't have any. This anti-love of decorations was cultivated in the 80's. My mother had a basement cubby full of decorations for every holiday, and I do mean every (did you know that you can decorate for President's Day). While she loved the decorations it fell to my father and I to actually haul up all the boxes and do the decorating while she sat on the coach giving directions. One year my dad actually pulled the Christmas tree down after my mother had him re-do the lights again for the 12th time. After that we had pre-lit trees. When my mother passed away I was sent all her ornaments. She made most of them by hand and they are beautiful. I put them up for a few years, but ultimately decided that they are treasures that I would hate to have ruined. So they sit in a carefully done box in the closet and my kids picked out a table top artificial tree last year. It's white with blue lights and tacky, but they love it. They were fine with that being the only decoration and it took minutes to put away, my idea of the perfect Christmas decoration. So this year my house will not bleed Christmas cheer with decorations, but will be brimming with the love of family shown through togetherness and a big Christmas meal. For me that is a perfect Christmas.

One of my family's favorite foods is pork. My boys love it in any form, but especially as bacon or pork tenderloin. This week I tried a new recipe for Pork Tenderloin with Apples from the October 2013 issue of the Food Network Magazine.
Old Iron Furnace
Old Iron Furnace 

This recipe 11 ingredients. It takes 40 minutes of total time, 20 minutes of which is active and makes 4 servings. I only made a few changes to the original recipe. I used Gala apples for the apple variety since they were what was available in my area. My tenderloin took less than 25 minutes to cook, it temped at 145 degrees at 15 minutes of cooking time. Make sure to tent the tenderloin with foil for 10 minutes after baking. This allows the juices to stay in the pork and makes for a moister tenderloin.
Vesuvius Iron Furnace
Vesuvius Iron Furnace 

My two boys fell in love with the barley. They had never eaten it before since I can't have it and therefore I normally don't serve it for dinners. Both of them were determined it tasted like stuffing. The apples were okay, but honestly the pork was better. When taken in the same bite though the flavors complimented each other nicely. The pan sauce was delicious and perfect with the pork.

For the recipe go to Pork Tenderloin with Apples.

Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Shallots


Recipe Type: Main
Summary:
A perfect fall meal of pork tenderloin, baked apples and barley with parsley and shallots. A great complete meal!
Preparation Time: 0h, 20m
Total Time: 0h, 40m
Yield: Serves 4

November 19, 2013

Apple Pie Mini Muffins

Apple Pie Mini Muffins
Apple Pie Muffins



My family doesn't have cable, we don't watch live television and we gave up our home phone years ago. We used to have cable. In graduate school my husband and I would watch horrible cable television while working on papers into the early hours of the morning. Then like a lot of people in our generation we graduated and were struck with the cold reality of a bad economy, aka no jobs. The jobs we did find were in retail, my husband woke up at 3 in the morning to help unload the truck at a toy store. So we did what needed to be done, we moved to a cheaper apartment, cancelled cable and switched to cell phones only. Our friends couldn't fathom not having cable, especially since we only received 3 channels through the regular television. We survived and eventually bought an Apple TV and Roku, which made regular television pretty much useless. The last time we watched live television was so far back I don't remember when it happened. Instead we watch Netflix and Hulu plus, use our computers and save the 130 dollars we paid on cable when we were younger. None of us miss it, we can watch pretty much anything we want between our Apple TV and computer and it gives us more time outside the house enjoying family time. It's also one of the numerous ways that I save money in order to stay at home with my kids.

I have two active and growing boys that eat more food than I would think possible. I shudder to think how much food they will eat as teenagers. I try to keep a variety of after school snacks that they can eat while I prepare dinner. Today I tried a new recipe for Apple Pie Mini Muffins from the November 2013 issue of Parents Magazine.
Apple Pie Mini Muffins
Apple Pie Muffins

This recipe has 11 ingredients. It takes 45 minutes of total time, 30 minutes of which is active and makes 36 mini muffins. I made a number of changes to the original recipe. The most obvious being that I made full size muffins instead of mini muffins. I ended up with a total of 12 regular sized muffins and one jumbo muffin I baked in a custard cup. Instead of using a food processor I mixed the muffin topping by hand. I also toasted my own pumpkin seeds since the ones I could find at the store where raw. I found that my total cooking time was slightly increased by approximately 5 minutes. Additionally I rotated the pan halfway through the baking time.
Haunted Tunnel Ironton Ohio
Haunted Tunnel Ironton Ohio

I like that these muffins have pumpkin seeds, oats and apples. It's a nice way to sneak a little nutrition into my kids diets. The batter will be very, very thick when it's prepared. Don't add more liquid, they will cook up fine without it. I did find that the amount of topping was a little short with full sized muffins. You might wanted to double the amount of topping used.

For the recipe go to Apple Pie Mini Muffins. (registration required)

November 18, 2013

Oven Roasted Potatoes with Homemade Greek Seasoning

Oven Roasted Potatoes with Homemade Greek Seasoning
Oven Roasted Potatoes with Homemade Greek Seasoning 



When it comes down to it I am very cheap (money wise). There are a few basics that I am brand loyal to, but when I can make something from scratch I do. I make my own household cleaners (better for the environment and work so well!), I sew, I can fruits, veggies etc. and I make as many food items from scratch as I can. Part of my frugal ways came from my mother. She never was a fan of convenience items, partly because we never had a lot of money and mostly because she knew she could do a better job from scratch. If I saw a great dress at the mall, my mother would come home, make a pattern, buy the fabric and I would have the exact same dress in just a couple of weeks. My friends were always very jealous that my mother could pretty much sew anything from sight. She also was great with finding bargain fabric to store away knowing she might use it at a latter date. For just a couple of dollars I could have a full outfit. Now my mother was a far better seamstress than I am, but I have inherited the need to make as many things as possible. One of my favorite ways to save money and add great flavor to dishes is to make my own spice mixes. There are so many pre-made mixes that can be easily made at home: Greek Seasoning, American Chili Powder, Chili Seasoning, Garam Masala. Not only is the flavor better when made from scratch, but it saves a lot of money in long run.
Lake Vesuvius
Lake Vesuvius 

One of my favorite dishes with homemade Greek seasoning is oven roasted fingerling potatoes. It tastes great and my kids love it. My recipe is as follows:

Greek Seasoning:

  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano (I dry oregano from my garden-very easy)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tsp dried thyme (not ground)
  • 1/2 tsp dried minced onion
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder (or minced garlic, but I use whichever I have on hand)
Add all the ingredients together, toss to make sure combined. Store in an air tight jar. 

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes:

This is really easy. 
  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes, cut in half or fourths
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt 
  • 1-2 tablespoon homemade Greek seasoning
Toss all the ingredients together on a roasting pan. Cook in a pre-heated 400 degree oven until browned (20-30 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes and your oven). Toss the potatoes half way through, do not over toss the potatoes or they will not get that great brown, roasted flavor and look. 

That's it. My kids love this recipe and it's really easy to make. Plus the Greek seasoning is great on chicken, pork or lamb. I use it to make chicken pitas a lot and it's delicious. 


Lake Vesuvius Ohio
Lake Vesuvius Ohio

November 14, 2013

Gluten Free White Rice Flour Pumpkin Waffles

Gluten Free Pumpkin Waffles
Gluten Free Pumpkin Waffles



My house is always loud. Not just a little bit, but deafening oftentimes. Almost all of the noise can be attributed to my two boys. They seem not to have two noise levels, just loud. This is the opposite of me. I love a quiet house. When I was in my early 20's I would go on trips by myself just to hear the quiet. I love sitting in the middle of a large field with only the sound of nature (and sometimes a great book).

My two boys hate to be quiet. They love to play with their toys with tons of action noises and fight scenes. If they go more than a couple of minutes without talking they get bored. I love my two boys, but sometimes I miss being able to watch a movie or TV show and hear all the words. Most of the time I understand a fraction of the dialogue and piece the rest of it together while my kids talk in my ear. I do know that I need to enjoy it while they still talk to me since when they are teenagers they will never want to tell me anything.

I have been experimenting with new gluten free breakfast recipes. My youngest is pretty easy going food wise and likes gluten free pancakes and waffles as much as wheat based ones. Yesterday morning I tried a new recipe for Pumpkin Waffles from the Better Homes and Gardens website.
Lake Vesuvius Ohio Rock Formations
Lake Vesuvius Ohio Rock Formations 

This recipe has 11 ingredients. It takes 30 minutes of total time, 25 minutes of which is active and makes 12 to 14 servings. I made a number of changes to the original recipe. First I halved the recipe. I only had a half can of pumpkin, so I reduced the number of servings. Since I eat gluten free I replaced the wheat flour with white rice flour. Instead of the spices I used 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. I followed the rest of the recipe as written.

Lake Vesuvius Ohio Rock Formations
Lake Vesuvius Ohio Rock Formations 

These waffles rose beautifully. Sometimes switching flours can cause recipes to be too dense or have too much liquid, but these waffles were perfect. I preferred them topped with just butter, but they were also delicious re-heated the next day with maple syrup. This recipe would work well to make in big batches and then freeze for quick weekday meals.

For the recipe go to Pumpkin Waffles. 

Gluten Free Pumpkin Waffles

Summary:
A pumpkin waffle recipe using white rice flour. Great for making in big batches and freezing for quick weekday meals.
Preparation Time: 0h, 25m
Cooking Time: 0h, 5m
Total Time: 0h, 30m
Yield: Serves 12-14

November 13, 2013

Oven Fried Beef Taquitos

Oven Fried Beef Taquitos
Oven Fried Beef Taquitos



I can be a very outspoken and stubborn person. Not in a mean or spiteful way, but I grew up with a mother that made it very clear that I was not going to have the life that she ended up with. She spent hours taking me to chess club, dance classes and science camps. I never thought that I couldn't do something, I just had to try a little harder. My mother was one of the smartest people that I have ever known. However, she was also the oldest of 12 kids, so money was always tight and opportunities were few.

Growing up we oftentimes had little money. My dad worked as an aide in a nursing home and my mother sold Tupperware. Neither of my parents were fortunate enough to have gone to college and most of the jobs they worked were minimum wage. There were years my mother cried standing in line at the food bank, but we pulled through.

While I would never wish hardship on anyone, my mother was incredibly strong and passed this trait on to me. I worked my way through college and graduate school, paying my own tuition, rent and traveling to Europe twice. My parents weren't overly gushy with praise, but the day I graduated with my undergraduate degree my dad cried. He didn't have to say anything, I understood. Nine days after my oldest son was born my mother passed away of cancer 2500 hundred miles away from me. I called on the strength that my mother instilled on me to get through some of the hardest weeks of my life.

So whenever my husband jokes that I am stubborn and outspoken, I smile. Those aren't the worst traits that someone can have and I hope that my kids carry on the family tradition.

The last couple of weeks I have been trying to make more oven roasted recipes that use less oil. I try to watch my husband's diet due to health issues that run on his side of the family. That doesn't mean that we don't enjoy the occasional treat, but I try to use recipes that reduce the fat at least a couple of days a week. Last night I tried a new recipe for Oven Fried Beef Taquitos from the November/December 2013 issue of Eating Well Magazine.
Lake Vesuvius Ohio

This recipe has 10 ingredients. It takes 40 minutes of total time, all of which is active and makes 4 servings. I did make a few changes to the original recipe. I find it much easier to heat corn tortillas in the microwave with a damp paper towel. I do them in batches of 6 at a time, be careful they are really hot when they come out. The biggest change I made was to cook the taquitos for an extra 5 minutes. At 18 minutes they were still not fully browned.
Lake Vesuvius Ohio
Lake Vesuvius Ohio

My kids absolutely fell in love with this recipe, they loved it. I served the taquitos with sour cream and salsa, which were great sides. My husband and youngest son ate the left overs cold the next day. They both thought that the cold leftovers were even better than when the recipe was served hot. The one change that I would make would be to increase the amount of salt. As the recipe is written it is under salted.

For the recipe go to Oven Fried Beef Taquitos. 

Oven Fried Beef Taquitos


Recipe Type: Main
Summary:
An easy oven fried beef taquitos recipe with 33 grams of protein per serving. Even better the next day!
Preparation Time: 0h, 20m
Total Time: 0h, 40m
Yield: Serves 4

November 12, 2013

Oven Barbecued Chicken

Oven Roasted Barbecued Chicken
Oven Roasted Barbecued Chicken



I am horrible at making gravy. It's something that I admit fully, a few years back I gave up trying to make it all together. I'm not one of those people that thinks that their gravy is bad, it's really bad. Most of the blame lies in the fact that I never ate gravy growing up. My family was not a biscuits and gravy or gravy in general kind of family. We ate lots of pasta and seafood, but very little gravy. At Thanksgiving the gravy normally came from a jar.

When I married my husband I learned that in some parts of the country gravy is a vital food. West Virginia is one of them. Everyone seems to love biscuits and gravy. I think I mildly annoyed my mother in law when my husband and I were first married. She made biscuits and gravy and I ate my biscuit with jam. That's right, no gravy. My husband on the other hand loves gravy, I think he would eat it with a straw if he could. So on Thanksgiving this year my mother in law is in charge of the gravy, I gave up long ago on making mine perfect. Plus since I can't eat gluten anymore I can't taste it for salt anymore, which would be a  deal breaker with my husband.

My family has been on a chicken kick for the last couple of weeks. It's versatile and easy to prepare, which is nice for weeknight meals. Last night I tried a new recipe for Oven Barbecued Chicken from The June/July 2013 issue of Taste of Home magazine.
Fall Leaves Lake Vesuvius Ohio
Fall Leaves Lake Vesuvius Ohio

This recipe has 12 ingredients. It takes 1 hour and 10 minutes of total time, 25 minutes of which is active and makes 8 servings. I only made a few changes to the original recipe. First I hate breaking down chickens. I had bought thighs and drumsticks on sale a couple of weeks back and froze them. Since I already had them on hand that is what I used for this recipe. For the prepared mustard I used country Dijon. My husband and I both like the strong flavor of this kind of mustard.
Lake Vesuvius Ohio
Lake Vesuvius Ohio

I would make one big change to this recipe, I would skin the chicken. The skin was browned when it went in, but after the BBQ sauce was poured over it and then basted it ended up not being crispy when it came out of the oven. Since all of the flavor was on the skin where the sauce was, it would have been nice to have the skin off so that all the sauce would have been absorbed into the actual chicken. The taste of the BBQ sauce was great though and my kids loved the drumsticks. I liked that the BBQ sauce had a nice vinegar taste, which is the kind of sauce that my family prefers.

For the recipe go to Oven Barbecued Chicken.

Oven Barbecued Chicken

Recipe Type: Main
Summary:
An oven roasted chicken recipe with homemade bbq sauce. Great for parties and kid friendly.
Preparation Time: 0h, 25m
Cooking Time: 0h, 45m
Total Time: 1h, 10m
Yield: Serves 8

November 9, 2013

40 Minute Vegetarian Butternut Squash Posole


Butternut Squash Posole
Butternut Squash Posole



I would love a weekend just to relax. It never seems to happen in my household. With two very active boys, grocery shopping and household needs my weekends seem to be more hectic than weekdays. Mondays end up being the day I recover from my weekend and start the craziness of my normal weekday routine.

The weekend also seems to be the time that my kids start acting a little crazy. They are decent during the week, but come Friday night everything goes south. By Saturday they are sick of each other and want their space. Last weekend my husband and I tried to enjoy a rare Saturday night out, which ended with a wild Sunday morning. Plus my youngest managed to shut his finger in a hotel door and his finger was more than a little swollen and purple. I'm hoping as they get older that things start to settle down.

Since it's winter squash season I have been using a lot of butternut and acorn squash in recipes. I love butternut squash since it's versatile and adds great flavor to dishes. Last week I tried a new recipe for Butternut Squash Posole from the September 2013 issue of the Food Network Magazine.
Butternut Squash Posole Food Network Magazine September 2013
Butternut Squash Posole Food Network Magazine September 2013 

This recipe has 13 ingredients. It takes 40 minutes of total time, 30 minutes of which is active and makes 4 servings. I only made a few changes to the original recipe. First my grocery store can be hit or miss with the types of peppers that they carry. There were no poblanos the week I made this recipe, so I substituted an Aneheim pepper since they were available. I bought regular tomato puree, not no salt added, I just added less salt to the recipe. Topping the posole with avocado is a necessary step. It takes the soup from being average to delicious. I really recommend adding it as a topping.

With 9 grams of protein per serving this is a nice vegetarian dinner recipe. My two kids fell in love with this recipe. They ate almost all 4 servings by themselves. I liked that it was easy to put together, while having enough flavor to satisfy everyone in my family. The only change I would make would be to buy 2 avocados since 1 is not enough for 4 servings.

For the recipe go to Butternut Squash Posole.

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40 Minute Vegetarian Butternut Squash Posole


Recipe Type: Main
Summary:
Easy vegetarian soup recipe. Kid friendly and easy to prep.
Preparation Time: 0h, 30m
Total Time: 0h, 40m
Yield: Serves 4

November 6, 2013

Salt and Pepper Biscuits

Salt and Pepper Biscuits
Salt and Pepper Biscuits



I did not grow up on biscuits. The only biscuits my mother ever made came from a can. She was a great cook and made many delicious recipes, but she didn't really bake. My husband brings up almost every Christmas about the year she took my great brownie batter and added a bag of raspberry chips to it. They were pretty inedible. Needless to say I had no idea how to make biscuits when I moved 2500 miles away from home to the State of West Virginia. Biscuits are a big deal in this state. I quickly learned that knowing not only how to make a biscuit, but being able to whip up a batch on the fly was an essential part of being a West Virginian. Since my husband and I met and got married in graduate school I quickly realized I was in trouble. My first few biscuit attempts were disasters. I kneaded the dough, I rolled out the biscuits with a rolling pin and they resembled hockey pucks. After a few years my mother in law took pity on me and kindly asked me if I could help her with her breakfast biscuits. In reality she very nicely pointed out everything that I was doing wrong without it feeling like a baking lesson. It worked, the next time I made biscuits they were perfect, they rose beautifully, they had a great texture and my husband would eat them (which is saying a lot I promise). Now she still makes the best biscuits I have had in this state and every time my husband goes home she makes him a big batch. They are the only biscuits that he never adds any jam or butter to, they are perfect as is. So I concede to coming in second best, a place which I think is pretty great considering the competition. I make a number of biscuit recipes depending on if they are for breakfast or as a side. Today I tried a new recipe for Salt and Pepper Biscuits from the November 2013 issue of Bon Appetit magazine.
Salt and Pepper Biscuits Sliced
Salt and Pepper Biscuits Sliced 

This recipe has 8 ingredients. It takes 30 minutes of total time, 20 minutes of which is active and makes 8 biscuits. I made few very changes to the original recipe. The main changes were to the execution of the recipe steps. The recipe states to use a food processor to cut in the butter. While I love food magazines, this is a step I have to debate. I have always cut my butter in by hand with my fingers and so does my mother-in-law. It keeps the butter a great texture and the flavor is always perfect. I cut the butter into small pieces and rub it into the flour mixture with my fingers. It should resemble a lumpy batter when done. You want these butter lumps in order to have flaky, buttery biscuits. The other big change I made was to roll out my biscuits by hand. Do not roll out biscuits with a rolling pin, it makes for flat biscuits. I pat out my biscuits with my hands and then use a biscuit cutter. Avoid too much contact with the dough in general, the less you touch it the better the biscuits.

These biscuits are definitely dinner biscuits. I served them alongside a veggie smoked salmon chowder recipe and they worked well together. As a breakfast biscuit they would not work as well, so remember that these should be a lunch or dinner biscuit/bread. With a little bit of butter my whole family liked this biscuit recipe. My husband still prefers breakfast biscuits, but he may be the pickiest biscuit eater I have ever met so his opinion is a little biased. Overall, these were easy to prepare and were a nice side with soup.

For the recipe go to Salt and Pepper Biscuits. 

November 4, 2013

Cilantro Lime Marinated Chicken

Cilantro Lime Marinate Chicken
Cilantro Lime Marinate Chicken



I had a weird relationship with chicken dishes growing up. I would love to say that I ate chicken and loved it, but I didn't. My mother was a great cook, but she favored beef, pork and seafood. She only made a few chicken dishes and most of the chicken that we ate was fried. I'm not taking about great homemade fried chicken, shaked in a brown paper bag, with delicious crispy skin. What I'm taking about is the fried chicken from the grocery store counter. It always had a slightly off flavor (I am sure they reused their oil) and my parents loved it. I couldn't stand it. When I met my husband I almost didn't marry him when he told me that he loved fried chicken. Yuck, I couldn't handle even looking at it, much less eating it. I have tried a lot of great fried chicken over the years and many people have tried to convert me, but I am sorry to say that I still can't stomach it. The grease does me in the same way that pancakes at a greasy spoon do, my stomach just says no thanks. Since I married a man that is big on any type of chicken and my two boys will eat chicken dishes before much of anything else I have learned to compromise. I make a lot of chicken dishes, just not fried. Every couple of months my family (without me) goes out and has fried chicken, they are happy and I am too.

Tonight was a chicken night in my household. I love using marinades on chicken. It keeps the meat moist and adds flavor without being over powering. Tonight I tried a new recipe for Cilantro Lime Chicken from Redbook Magazine.

This recipe has 9 ingredients. It takes 1 hour of total time, 10 minutes of which is active and makes 4 servings. I only made a few changes to the original recipe. First I used a yellow onion. I already had a bag and didn't see the need to buy another bag of white onions when I would only use one. For the honey I am lucky enough that my husband's cousin raises bees and gave us a jar of homemade honey. If you have never had homemade honey, it is so much better than the honey from the grocery store. Plus if you have allergies local honey is supposed to help you be more resistant to pollen issues. I found that I needed to flip my chicken approximately once every ten minutes, so four times total during the baking time. The chicken tended to start to burn and stick to the foil without this step (I had used canola spray and it still stuck from the honey).

The flavor on this chicken was delicious. I would suggest a couple of changes. The skin didn't crisp as much as I would prefer. In order to change this I would either take off the skin (which would also save a significant amount of fat) or broil the chicken the last 5 minutes. This way the skin would have a crisp outside while maintaining the delicious cilantro-lime flavor. My kids loved this recipe and my youngest ate two legs all by himself (which is a ton for a 4 year old!). It is definitely kid friendly and a good way to introduce your kids to cilantro and jalapeño.

For the recipe go to Cilantro Lime Chicken.

Cilantro Lime Marinated Chicken

Recipe Type: Main
Summary:
A simple roasted chicken recipe with a Cilantro Lime Marinade. Can be made more or less spicy by seeding or leaving the seeds in the jalapeño.
Preparation Time: 0h, 10m
Total Time: 1h, 0m
Yield: Serves 4

November 3, 2013

Hearty Blueberry Muffins

Hearty Blueberry Muffins
Hearty Blueberry Muffins



I think I may be a bad blogger. When I first started my blog over 2 1/2 years ago everything seemed exciting and new. There were things to learn, new blogs to read and the Internet wasn't completely saturated by 5,000 different social media possibilities to waste endless amounts of time. I blogged everyday, sometimes more than once. If I missed a day I would write twice as hard the next. Fast forward almost 3 years and I feel a little blah. I miss more blog posts a week than I would like to admit. My blog almost feels like a chore some nights. After chasing after two very active boys my blog seems a little less important than it was when my youngest had just turned two. Next month my youngest will be 5 and my oldest will turn 8 this spring. They were babies when my blog started, my oldest hadn't even started school yet. Part of my blog taking a back seat is coming naturally with age, as my kids and I get older I feel less compelled to sit behind a computer and not interact face to face. My mother started having serious health issues in her 40's and I try my hardest to avoid this fate. Part of that plan means spending less time on the computer and more time with friends and family. It also means instead of computer time, I am remembering the joy of a good book or a movie snuggled up with my husband. I don't know where my blog will be in another 2 1/2 years. It has evolved endlessly since I started it. So if you don't see me posting everyday it isn't that I have forgotten about my blog, readers and food. It's just that life has a way of becoming more important during certain periods of our life. I do promise that the posts that I end up having the time to write will be truthful and hopefully an enjoyable read.

I have been trying to make sure that my two boys eat at least a small breakfast every morning. They both have a bad habit of skipping breakfast or choosing cereal and then becoming cranky a couple of hours later. In order to combat this problem I have been trying a number of new breakfast recipes. Last week I tried a new recipe for Hearty Blueberry Muffins from Martha Stewart Living magazine.

This recipe has 10 ingredients. It takes an hour of total time, 25 minutes of which is active and makes 12 servings. I only made a few changes to the original recipe. First, I used coconut oil for the fat. Coconut oil is nice since it keeps for a very long time and turns into a solid when cool and a liquid when heated. Plus it doesn't have a strong flavor so it's great for baking. My two boys had eaten a bunch of my blueberries by the time I made this recipe so my muffins were not as full of blueberries as the original recipe. Finally, I used foil baking cups, I love them they are so much easier to get the muffins out of than regular paper liners.

I like that these muffins have both wheat germ and whole wheat flour. My boys liked that they had blueberries and were sweet and didn't notice that they also had added nutrition. They kept well on my counter and with a couple of seconds in the microwave tasted like they were fresh baked (according to my boys). Overall a nice breakfast option that is kid friendly.

For the recipe go to Hearty Blueberry Muffins.

Hearty Blueberry Muffins

Recipe Type: Breakfast
Summary:
A blueberry muffin recipe using coconut oil, wheat germ and whole wheat flour. A nice way to start the day!
Preparation Time: 0h, 25m
Total Time: 1h, 0m
Yield: Serves 12
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